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What makes a useful online review? Implication for travel product websites

Zhiwei Liu and Sangwon Park

Tourism Management, 2015, vol. 47, issue C, 140-151

Abstract: While the proliferation of online review websites facilitate travellers' ability to obtain information (decrease in search costs), it makes it difficult for them to process and judge useful information (increase in cognitive costs). Accordingly, this study attempts to identify the factors affecting the perceived usefulness of online consumer reviews by investigating two aspects of online information: (1) the characteristics of review providers, such as the disclosure of personal identity, the reviewer's expertise and reputation, and (2) reviews themselves including quantitative (i.e., star ratings and length of reviews) and qualitative measurements (i.e., perceived enjoyment and review readability). The results reveal that a combination of both messenger and message characteristics positively affect the perceived usefulness of reviews. In particular, qualitative aspects of reviews were identified as the most influential factors that make travel reviews useful. The implications of these findings contribute to tourism and hospitality marketers to develop more effective social media marketing.

Keywords: Travel products; Online reviews; Usefulness of online reviews (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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